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11/15/2005
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Opera Takes AJAX Mobile

The emerging Web-based programming tools can now be used for cell phones and other mobile devices. As a result, users can grab only the information they need without having to wait for large files to be reloaded onto their screens.

MADISON, Wis. — Browser developer Opera Software has launched a software development kit designed to bring to mobile phones dynamic Web applications using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX)-based technologies — which are becoming increasingly popular on desktop PCs.

Mobile Web applications created on the Opera Platform Software Development Kit give users access to online resources while providing software developers the ability to integrate mobile phone applications with online content, according to Opera (Oslo, Norway).

AJAX-based Web technologies are becoming more prevalent in desktop applications, driving new Internet services such as Google Maps and Amazon A9 Search. The emerging Web-based techniques, for example, create script on a client while allowing — in the background — XML communication with a server.

As a result, users can grab only the information they need without having to wait for large files to be reloaded onto their screens. "This enables a much more efficient use of bandwidth," said Jan Standal, strategic product manager at Opera. Thus, it’s "much more applicable to mobile phones," he added.

Using the Opera Platform kit, software engineers developing full-blown applications specific to a particular operating system will now have more options in developing platform-independent, Web-based mobile applications for smart phones, claimed Standal.

For smartphone users, the kit provides a major upgrade from traditional WAP-based applications, which offered only a basic user interface. Further, AJAX-based Web techniques offered in the kit allow transparent updating of information pushed to mobile phones. "You can reuse a lot of components already out there on the Web for mobile applications," said Standal, instead of developing operating system-specific, proprietary mobile applications.

Standal said Opera has offered the kit to mobile network operators so they can create unique “home screens” on their handsets, using their logos and special links to content.

By releasing the same kit to a larger group of software developers, Opera is hoping richer, dynamic Web applications will proliferate for mobile phones. "This will let software designers develop small, Web-based applications much more rapidly and simply," said Standal.

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